Federal Water Minister David Littleproud has emphasised his determination to lead the Murray-Darling Basin Plan through its full implementation, at a meeting in Shepparton attended by the Speak Up campaign recently.
Speak Up chair Shelley Scoullar was invited to join the discussions with Mr Littleproud.
Although it was predominantly a Goulburn-Murray Irrigation District meeting, Mrs Scoullar was given the opportunity to participate because of Speak Up’s prominent and expanding advocacy role across the southern basin.
‘‘The minister is determined to deliver the plan ‘in full and on time’, and this includes the 450Gl of ‘up-water’. He told us he wants to see good science and structure around the 450 to give communities confidence the safeguards are in place.
‘‘He also expressed a desire to give us certainty and get governments out of our lives, emphasising if the basin plan falls over ‘they will keep coming after us’.’’
Mrs Scoullar said there was real concern among attending stakeholders that the recent Ernst & Young report on the basin plan did not adequately address the flow-on impacts to communities of removing water.
She said Mr Littleproud also spoke about legal issues linking Sustainable Diversion Limit projects and the 450Gl of up-water, and these were being further investigated because attendees had significant concerns around some of his comments.
Mr Littleproud has committed to providing more information on the legal advice.